Monday, 29 February 2016

How to Have a Champagne Wedding on a Lemonade Budget

A wedding is a great cause for celebration. The coming together of two people, so in love that they want to spend the rest of their lives together? That is a beautiful thing. If you’re in the process of trying to plan your wedding,it can be hard.  It can soon become apparent that there are lots of things you may not have factored into your budget. And boy, all these little costs can really add up. One minute you think you’re all on track with your budget and then the next you realise it’s being stretched further and further.
Image Credit S. Carter

If you are having trouble making all the costs for your wedding add up, then don’t despair. It is possible to still have everything you’ve ever dreamt off on your big day without blowing your entire budget. You just have to be a little flexible and think about things creatively.

Hello? Anyone there?

Invitations are one of the things that people often forget to factor into their wedding days costs. It sounds crazy, after all, how are you meant to get guests to your marriage if you don’t invite them. But amongst all the bigger thoughts like the venue or the dress, they are often neglected. If you’re wedding is still some way off you might want to think about Save the Date cards too.  A cost effective way to get beautiful personalized invitations that don’t cost the earth is to design your own online. Check out these affordable wedding invitation kits from Pure Invitation.

Blooming Bargains

Another area you can save money on when organizing your nuptials is your flowers. Bridal bouquets can cost an absolute fortune and be a serious blow to your budget. It’s not just the brides bunch of blooms; you’ve got the bridesmaids to consider too. Then there’s the buttonholes and the decorations. A smart way to save yourself some precious pennies is to use silk flowers and make your arrangements ahead of time. Saving yourself time on your big day, so you don’t have to think about collecting flowers is a big plus too. Look for tutorials on making your own wedding flowers on YouTube.

Where shall I wed?

Where and when you choose to get married can make a big difference to the cost. Prime wedding season is the hotter summer months. It stands to reason, and it’s a fact of life that wedding venues and suppliers tend to charge higher prices during this time. Weddings are massive money spinners for a multitude of types of businesses. Saturdays are also in prime demand for weddings. So if you choose a weekday in November to marry your betrothed, it can cost up to fifty percent less than a Saturday in July. Think about your ideal venue carefully, you can save wads of cash.

Getting married is one of the most special days of your life, and is meant to be a once in a lifetime experience. Just because you don’t have a huge budget doesn’t mean you can’t have the wedding of your dreams. Don’t settle for second best. It’s your big day and the start of a beautiful life together.

Make Moving House As Easy As Possible

Moving house is one of those things we all have to go through at one point or another. If you are lucky, it will be from your own choice, and when you are in a good position to do so! However, no matter what your situation is, you probably want the entire process to go as smoothly as possible. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to achieve this. When it comes time to move house, plenty of people find themselves getting a little taken aback by the newfound levels of stress. So if that sounds like you, the first thing to know is that you are not alone. Lots of people have been through it before, and everybody finds it difficult! However, that doesn’t mean that it’s all doom and gloom. Let’s have a look through some of the best things you can do to make your move go like a dream.

Don’t Rush Anything

Too often, the reason that people get so stressed out is because they end up getting ahead of themselves. With any major change in your life, it is really important to remember not to rush anything. When you rush the big decisions, it only allows more stress to enter into the situation. So when it comes to moving house, remember above all this most important tip: take your time. It is unlikely that you are in a situation where you need to move house immediately. So there is little point in worrying unduly about being quick. Just take it nice and slow, and take each day as it comes. Most people forget to do this, and they suffer all the more in the long run because of it. Don’t be one of those people! From the very outset to the bitter end, take everything in your stride. Stress never helped anybody achieve anything.

Get Your Home Sorted First

With that one-step-at-a-time approach in mind, it is well worth getting your home sorted first, before you do anything else. This is a fairly simple matter; however, there are a few different aspects to it. So the first thing should be to make your home as presentable as possible. It may be quite a while before you have anyone coming to view the property; however, you want it to be in a good state as early as possible. That way, it is a simple matter to make it presentable for when those potential buyers do come knocking. De-clutter your home first, and sell off anything that you can. That extra cash will come in handy when you are looking for new furniture for your new home. It is also advisable to re-decorate at least a couple of rooms in the house. The bedrooms and bathrooms should be the priority here. Also ensure that all fixtures and fittings are in the best condition possible, with nothing broken or damaged anywhere. No detail is too small. Remember the first tip, though, and don’t rush any of this. Just calmly take your time in getting the house ready for selling. Too many people try to do everything at once, and end up just getting flustered. Once your home is ready, it’s time to move on.

Use Any Help Available

Another key part of making the move as easy and stress-free as possible is to enlist the help of anyone at your disposal. This is one of those times in your life when it is a good idea to call on all the old favours you possibly can. Ask around and you will probably be pleasantly surprised at how many people offer their help. However, it’s not only those close to you who can help. You could also enlist the help of professionals like Bannister Preston, who can help with the entire process. Having people on your side who really know what they are doing can be a huge help at times like this. After all, that is what they are there for - so you may as well use their services! Anything to make the whole process that little bit easier on you and your family.

Shop Around

Once it comes time to choosing where you are going to move to, the most important thing you can remember to do is give yourself time. That is, time to shop around as much as possible. Given what a huge step it is to buy a house, it is amazing how many people rush the process. A lot of people get excited after they have got everything else together, and rush the last (most important) part! This is silly. Allow yourself as much time as you need to find somewhere ideal for you and your family. Don’t expect to simply chance upon something fantastic straight away. The truth is, most of the best properties are worth waiting for. Once again, there is no rush! You have all the time in the world to look for somewhere to live - and that’s good, because it is a massive decision to make. Take it easy, and all should go your way.


Saturday, 27 February 2016

Great Gifts For Girls Who Love To Be Warm

No matter the season, we all that one girl who is always cold! So when it comes time to buy her a gift, why not go for her something to warm her up? It’s sure to be really appreciated! Consider first where she spends her time. Some of these ideas are great for the office while others are more suitable for staying cosy home. There is an even an idea for her car.

A quality blanket
Any girl who loves to be warm will truly appreciate an extra soft blanket. Teddybear material is a great option. Or, for extra softness, go for a large baby blanket. You can’t get much softer than that!

A gorgeous piece of knitwear
Handcrafted knitwear is not only great for keeping the wearer nice and toasty. It’s also far more delicate than machine-made items. Handmade items are still sturdy, though; a special method is used on these type of items to ensure this. You can pick from items like a bobble hat, or sock, for example. Or, for a more significant gift, buy a couple of things and package them up as a set. Gloves and a scarf in similar colours make a great pair!


A heated foot warmer
This is a little more unusual! You can now get electric footwarmers. You plug them into a power source and then pop your feet inside; they’re like a big fluffy boot. Not only are these great for girls who like to be warm, but they’re also handy for people with Raynaud’s. You can even get ones that can massage the feet as well! Check them out on this website.

A heated blanket
Like a heated foot warmer but much bigger! Heated blankets are actually far more affordable than you might think. You simply put them under the bottom sheet of a bed. They’re usually powered electrically, and for most you can adjust the heating setting.

A car seat warmer
If the girl you’re buying for drives a car, this is one gift idea they are sure to love! These handy seat covers slip over the driver’s seat. They’re then plugged into the cigarette lighter receptacle. Slowly the seat will become toasty and warm!

A hot water bottle
The chances are, your ‘always cold’ friend will already own a hot water bottle. But this could now be getting old, and tatty hot water bottles can be very dangerous. Either way, there is no such thing as too many hot water bottles! There are some super cool cover designs out there now.


A wheat bag
Wheat bags are not just good for warming you up. They’re often infused with herbs like Lavender, which smell amazing and have properties to make the user relax! You warm them up by popping them in the microwave for two minutes. A great option if your friend doesn’t have a kettle.

Whichever item you pick ensure you purchase from a reputable supplier. This is especially important when buying items that have a power supply or contain boiling water. 

Monday, 22 February 2016

Ox Pasture Hall :: Review

If anyone needed a night away from the daily grind and the endless job of being parents, it was me and Carl and when Shaun from Ox Pasture Hall in Scarborough got in touch asking if we would like to spend a night there, we literally leapt at the chance.

I have seen this hotel being mentioned a few times in the Blogosphere and I often commented on how beautiful it looked but pictures really don't do it justice, you have to be there to really appreciate what a stunning hotel it is.

Upon our arrival, we were greeted by the incredibly friendly Lynsey on reception who was so helpful and lovely and got us checked in straight away. Paul then showed us to our suite and after walking through beautiful courtyards with fountains and flowers, we came to the Wetherby suite and we were so surprised when the door was opened.

The suite was huge, bigger than any room I've stayed in before and me and Carl wasted no time in having a look around. Obviously we had to take a look at the bed and it was huge! Our bed at home has become so uncomfortable but we can't afford a new one yet so seeing this bed reassured us that we would be getting a really good sleep that night and yes, it was stupidly comfortable.

The bathroom was beautiful with it's marbled tiles and amazing fittings. Carl was particularly excited by the waterfall taps that were on the bath and sinks as he'd never seen them before, he didn't waste any time in making the most of them by having not one but two baths! The shower was amazing aswell.
There were so many nice touches in the room that I really appreciated. The chandelier light fittings, the ornaments on the windowsills and even the huge clock!

We booked a table for dinner for 7pm so in the meantime, we lounged about in the complimentary robes and watched TV, we felt so blissed out that it was pretty difficult getting ready.

At dinner time, we made our way to the restaurant where once again we were greeted by Paul who provided the best service I have ever come across in the hotel industry, he was so attentive and gave us his whole attention it was really nice. He provided us with a complimentary bottle of Prosecco which we really weren't expecting but was certainly welcome (Carl isn't a huge fan of Prosecco so I ended up drinking the whole bottle myself, yes I was drunk) but they brought him a pint of beer which suited him nicely.

We were also brought a platter of various home made breads that Anton had made fresh that day. The rosemary and sea salt focaccia caught my eye straight away as it's my favourite bread of all and Carl had the rest, he particularly enjoyed the poppy seed one. 

After making our meal choice, Paul brought us both an amuse bouche of sweet potato soup and it was delicious. Our meal then arrived and it was cooked just to our liking. We both ordered the steak and chips and I can be quite picky when it comes to steak and I only really trust my mums way of cooking it but all credit to the chef for getting mine medium-well and not over/under cooking it like restaurants usually do.

Before the dessert, Paul once again brought over another little treat of grapefruit and whisky sorbet which was very much welcomed and no surprise but it tasted incredible. Our desserts then arrived and naturally, we both opted for the chocolate fudge cake and chocolate orange sorbet, it was beautiful.

Feeling content and full, we ventured back to the room and watched a bit more TV but because I was so drunk, I decided to go to bed and as Carl was tired having been up early for work that morning, he opted for sleep as well. The bed was as comfy as we expected it to be and it was a welcome change to sleeping in our bed which quite frankly should be condemned it's that uncomfortable. As blissed out as I was, I unfortunately have a really hard time sleeping when I'm away from home. I've always had a funny issue with being an in unfamiliar place and as I barely sleep as it is, when I wake up and I know I'm not at home, I can't get back to sleep. So by 5am, I was wandering around our room and had to accept I wouldn't be able to make the most of the amazing bed. Thankfully, Carl did and it was a struggle to get him up for breakfast.

Speaking of breakfast, it was lush. While we waited for our fry up's, Carl had some toast and I had a couple of delicious home made croissants that were filled with jam. I've been craving crossiants for weeks so I was very happy when they caught my eye.  We also had a pot of the smoothest coffee I've had in a long time, you could tell it was excellent quality and not your bog standard gold roast from a jar.

With a heavy heart, we checked out and I took a few more snaps before we left. We met the friendliest little cat in the garden and she wouldn't leave Carl alone, she was completely obsessed with him and even followed us to the car, I wanted to take her home!

Being in Scarborough, we couldn't not make the most of it so before heading home, we drove to the coast. It's been many years since me and Carl ventured to Scarborough beach so it was nice have a walk along the front. Of course we went into the penny arcades, it's the law! But unfortunately, in typical British fashion, the weather was against us and it started to rain so we took that as our time to get back home.

I just want to give special mentions to certain people before I wrap up this post;

Shaun - Thank you so much for giving me and Carl the opportunity to come stay at the hotel. It was exactly what we needed and it couldn't of happened without your generosity.

Lynsey - Without a doubt the friendliest receptionist in the world. Thank you for making us feel so welcome and like nothing was too much to ask. 

Paul - You went above and beyond during dinner and you deserve a pay rise! Thank you for amazing service and being so friendly and polite to us.

I can't recommend Ox Pasture Hall enough if you want a mini break. It really is  a beautiful and relaxing hotel with the best customer service I have ever come across. Have a look at their website for more details Scarborough Hotel in Yorkshire


Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Benefits Of Helping Your Child Learn An Instrument

n your kids are growing up, you’re going to have lots of chances to choose their path for them. That means you can screw them up as much as you like. Kidding! In all seriousness, your choices in the earlier years can affect their development later on. For instance, you could encourage them to join a sports team. This will help keep their bodies fit and healthy and save you the trouble of exercising with them. Another popular choice is encouraging your child to learn a musical instrument.

There are lots of reasons why you should encourage your child to learn a musical instrument. But first, you should probably check that they’ve got the mindset for it. Not everyone is going to be good with instruments because not everyone has a natural rhythm. If your child struggles with hand the clapping game, a career as a musician probably isn’t in his future. Believe it or not, if you try and get your child to learn an instrument through school, this is one of the first things the teacher will attempt to discover.

However, not all instruments need a rhythm. If you play the drums, you certainly will but not the flute or the cello. You will have to pick the right instrument for your child.

Picking An Instrument

To pick an instrument, you can ask your child what they’d like to learn. Don’t be surprised if they either decline or pick a popular choice like the drums or guitar. This is a particularly popular choice for tween boys. If you’re looking for an instrument that is going to open the most doors for your child, you should encourage them to learn something like the piano. The piano is a gorgeous instrument, and your child will certainly have new opportunities if he learns this skill. But remember you have to get them to go to the lessons, and you’ll have to listen to their works in progress. This is something to think about, particularly if you’re choosing a louder instrument for your child. That room soundproofing option you saw a couple of weeks ago is looking awful friendly right now isn’t it?

Learning To Play

If you want to teach your child how to play an instrument, it’s important they have one to play. You’ll either have to buy one or rent one. It’s your choice which option you choose. For larger instruments like a piano, I recommend renting. A piano hire is easy to find online and for a reasonable cost. Once your child starts to develop skill in the art, you can buy him his own. Perhaps, as a rather special Christmas present at the end of the year if he starts soon?

Encouraging Them To Play

At first, you will find you have to encourage your child to both play and practice. But once they get the hang of it, you’ll find they start to get interested in it themselves. You won’t have to encourage them to go to the lessons. They’ll already be at the door waiting for you to take them. This is a magical moment where a child’s hobby that you’ve pushed upon them becomes a passion.

Who knows where this might lead. One day you might go and see your child play in a London Orchestra. As parents, we can dream, can’t we?